Night #2: Gravy (2015)

Directed By: James Roday

Halloween. A Mexican restaurant is closing up for the night. A man in a clown costume has broken in and sealed the exits. He has two friends inside as well, and once they’ve rounded the remaining staff up, they announce that before the night is over, they’re going to eat them.

Do not despair, it’s not as dour as it seems (This isn’t Cannibal Holocaust or anything), and is actually kind of funny. It feels like a more slapstick version of something like The Last Supper, In which Cameron Diaz and friends invite various unsavoury characters over for dinner and then murder them, or maybe Funny Games with more 80s references and a better soundtrack.

The fun part, if you’re anything like me, is that there’s a world class chef present, who has to keep cooking up his friends into various exotic meals. Again, I cannot stress enough that this is a comedy, and predictably this leads to some gruesome fun. As an aside, the rump roast looked really good.

It’s all anchored by two really fun performances from Jimmi Simpson and Michael Weston, two character actors of the ‘that guy’ variety though occasionally hampered by Lily Cole, who isn’t as entertaining in her role. In fact you could probably have cut her completely and not really suffered for it. She’s one note as a the most psychotic of the group, and while the other two posses charm and are kind of likeable, Cole has neither.

If there’s any fans of Psych out there – other than myself – then you’ll be interested to know that it was co-written and directed by its star, James Roday (Who gets a brief cameo at the end) so that should give you an idea of the humour. Just picture an episode of that with a lot of blood and more swearing and you’ll get the drift.

Still, there’s something about it that doesn’t quite work as well as it should. While Roday shows chops visually and is effective in staging the various set-pieces, there’s also some annoying visual tics that he’s picked up from his TV days (It’s a pet peeve of mine whenever the camera pans with a whooshing noise, or when the film is sped up instead of just editing it properly) and the second act sort of slows down a bit while all the characters move into place ready for the finale. There’s also the glaring use of Walking on Sunshine that’s really unforgivable in this say and age and hammers home that really, it should’ve died with High Fidelity.

All in all though it’s harmless, with some genuinely funny moments and enough of the red stuff to satisfy the meat eaters out there.

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